At this year’s Property & Freedom Society (PFS) conference, held last month in the libertarian paradise of Turkey, Hans-Hermann Hoppe gave a speech entitled “Libertarianism And The ‘Alt-Right.'” The subject matter is especially fitting given that there’s been a discussion of a so-called “libertarian-to-alt-right pipeline.”
Several key white nationalist figures including Richard Spencer, Mike Enoch, Christopher Cantwell, and Tim “Baked Alaska” Gionet began as self-identified libertarians. Even alt-right troll Ricky Vaughn got his start as a Ron Paul supporter, leading Spencer to joke in a 2016 Radix Journal podcast that “a lot of those liberals were right that Ron Paul led to racism.”
Nick Gillespie, editor-in-chief of Reason magazine, disagrees with the “pipeline” premise, since the people who are attracted to the alt-right may “start off calling themselves libertarian, but they are the antithesis of everything that the libertarian project stands for.” And he (correctly, in my estimation) wrote that “it’s an overstatement at the very least to characterize the alt-right as mostly former libertarians.”
However, to conclude that the alt-right’s ideals are fundamentally at odds with those of the libertarian movement is questionable, given that the alt-right’s most defining features — it’s adherence to white supremacy and anti-Semitism — are not per se incompatible with a libertarian outlook.
As white nationalist Jared Taylor remarked of the alt-right label, “That’s non-threatening. But I don’t think it’s accurate. … A correct understanding of race, and of other questions sometimes included in the alternative right, doesn’t have to be Right or Left. You can be a Lefty on the role of government, foreign aid, trade, welfare — plenty of other things — and still have a sound view of race.”
And Gillespie acknowledged that “there is no question that some elements in the broadly defined libertarian movement articulate policy positions almost indistinguishable from those of the alt-right and Donald Trump,” particularly relating to immigration.
Which brings us back to Hans-Hermann Hoppe, perhaps the single most influential libertarian philosopher of the alt-right movement. To be clear, Hoppe does not identify as alt-right, but runs in the same circles as prominent white nationalists. His popularity among fringe anarcho-capitalists — or ancaps — has resulted in a plethora of memes, sometimes depicting Hoppe as Pepe the Frog, and often bearing the slogan “Hippity Hoppity, Get Off My Property.”
One of Hoppe’s proposals — that truly libertarian societies be able to “physically remove” Communists and other undesirables from their ranks — has become a meme on the far-right thanks to the “Crying Nazi” himself, Christopher Cantwell. His online store stocks “I ♥ Physical Removal” stickers, along with a “Right-Wing Death Squad” hat, and Radical Agenda shirts depicting a person being thrown from a helicopter — in honor of Augusto Pinochet.
Hoppe told his audience that “many of the leading lights associated with the alt-right have appeared here at our meetings in the course of the years,” including Paul Gottfried, Peter Brimelow, Richard Lynn, Jared Taylor, John Derbyshire, Steve Sailer, and Richard Spencer. And he boasted that these associations have “earned” him “several honorable mentions” by the SPLC, which he called “America’s most famous smear and defamation league.”
According to Hoppe, “many libertarians” are “plain ignorant of human psychology and sociology” and “devoid of any common sense.” He said this explains their tendency to “blindly accept, against all empirical evidence, an egalitarian, blank slate view of human nature that all people and all societies and all cultures are essentially equal and interchangeable.”
The alt-right, on the other hand, does not labor under such delusions. He described the alt-right as “united” in its “identification and diagnosis of [the West’s] social pathologies.” The alt-right is “against, and indeed it hates with a passion, the elites in control of the State, the mainstream media, and academia” because they promote “egalitarianism, affirmative action or nondiscrimination laws, multiculturalism, and free mass immigration as a means to bring about this multiculturalism.”
Indeed, Hoppe largely sympathized with the alt-right’s belief that white, straight, Christian men are under attack in the West by powerful elites who bestowed victim status to women, the LGBTQ community, and both racial and religious minorities. He labeled as “our principle enemies” the “ruling elites in control of the State apparatus” — or “Cathedral” in Dark Enlightenment terms — as well as all public educators and journalists.
Hoppe said that while the “standard libertarian answer” of who the victim is in this equation is typically the taxpayer, this is “at best only part of the answer.” Noting that libertarians “could learn something in this respect from the alt-right,” Hoppe claimed that the “ruling elite” has been engaging in a “systematic culture war” in which minority groups are pitted against white men:
A new victimology has been proclaimed and promoted. Women — and in particular single mothers — blacks, browns, Latinos, homosexuals, lesbians, bi, and transsexuals have been awarded victim status, and accorded legal privileges through nondiscrimination or affirmative action decrees as well. Most recently such privileges have been expanded also to foreign national immigrants, whether legal or illegal, insofar as they fall into one of the just mentioned categories, or are members of non-Christian religions such as Islam for instance.
The result of this “victimology” is the destruction of “cultural homogeneity” and the replacement of the freedom of association with “forced social integration.” He complained that the world has been “literally turned upside down,” that the fabled nuclear family has crumbled, and that white men (who have “done most good in human history”) have been “officially stigmatized and vilified as the source of all social ills.”
To borrow another term from the alt-right’s expanding lexicon, it has become “clown world.”
As such, Hoppe suggested that libertarians focus their efforts on recruiting these “disadvantaged” white, heterosexual, Christian men to make up the movement’s base, although he stopped short of calling for an exclusively white movement in the mold of the alt-right itself.
And he offered a series of (what he believes to be) practical solutions to right these wrongs. For example, Hoppe said we should “stop mass immigration” in order to stave off the “waves” of foreign “welfare parasites” and “terrorists” currently “burden[ing]” the West. He further said that immigrants must be “tested for productivity,” and that the crème de la crème of immigrants will likely be white.
He called for the abolition of “all affirmative action and nondiscrimination laws and regulations” on the grounds that they are “blatant violations of the principle of the equality before the law.” Private property owners, he said, must be given the freedom to “integrate or to segregate” as they see fit. And he recommended shutting down all “university departments for black, Latino, women, genderqueer studies and so forth.”
In a nod to white nationalists, he demanded the brutal suppression of Antifa activists by police. Calling Antifa a “self-described mob of social justice warriors” (I’m unaware of anti-fascists describing themselves in this way) Hoppe said there must be a “clamoring far and wide for the police to be unleashed and this mob beaten into submission.” Yes, a libertarian is calling for State violence against anti-fascists and political dissidents.
And with the cold, detached demeanor of a 20th century eugenicist, he called for the elimination of “all welfare parasites and bums.” To this end, he suggested doing away with all social programs designed to assist this impoverished “underclass” whose problems — including unemployment, alcoholism, child abuse, and “female-headed households” — Hoppe blamed on their own sloth and poor impulse control.
Hoppe’s speech was warmly received on nominally libertarian websites like The Liberty Caucus, Target Liberty, and The Liberty Conservative. In other words, there is a divide between a faction of libertarians sympathetic to white nationalist (and even fascist) causes and the rest of the movement. But regardless of their numbers, they need to be expelled from the movement as a whole, and sooner rather than later.